A fresh start for Cooperative Extension

A fresh start for Cooperative Extension

The newly-rebuilt Lenoir County Cooperative Extension office will have a grand opening on Thursday, July 26 at 11 a.m. [William "Bud" Hardy / Neuse News]

Nearly two years after substantial damage from Hurricane Matthew, the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension office is reopening.

“We are moving in next week,” Tammy Kelly, County Extension Director, said. “We’re ready to come on back.”  

Since the flood, the Cooperative Extension office relocated to the Enterprise Center in downtown Kinston.

“We’ve been working off folding tables, so we are excited to have a desk again,” Kelly said.

Tammy Kelly, Lenoir County Cooperative Extension Director, poses at the front of the rebuilt office. Photo by William 'Bud" Hardy / Neuse News

The view from the back parking lot of the new Extension office. William 'Bud' Hardy / Neuse News

The original building was unusable after the damage from Hurricane Matthew. The new facility has since been rebuilt on the same location and has a similar layout to the original building.

The renovation also gave the facility a new front parking lot. The facility has been raised to above flood level.

The renovation cost around $2 million; the Extension office was awarded $1.4 million from the Gold Leaf Foundation to help reconstruct the facility. Other funds came from the Lenoir County Commissioners, insurance and other programs.

“We’ve managed to get some stuff here and there to help fund the renovation,” Kelly said.

The new office serves as a host location for many programs and events. There is also a large meeting space, a kitchen, playroom and a room dedicated to the 4-H program.  

“If kids want to be back having meetings or working on presentations, they can do it in this part of the office,” Kelly said. “It’s a great spot.”

The Lenoir County Cooperative Extension provides many services that help to educate the community. Kelly said staff members are excited to be moving back to their facility.

“We haven’t been able to do a lot of day camps because of our situation now, so our workshops will increase,” Kelly said.

The kitchen has been renovated with televisions, cameras and gas stove tops for cooking demonstrations. Kelly Tyndall, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, said she is also happy to be home.

“I’m super excited about this,” Tyndall said. “This is home and we finally get to go back. It is a great addition to Lenoir County.”

Tyndall is excited to have the kitchen because it will allow her to have a more hands-on approach to the different programs and workshops, such as her food preservation class.

“Things will be more hands-on when we get over there because they can wash the fruits and vegetables and prepare them -- which is something we can't do right now,” Tyndall said.

There will be an official ribbon-cutting Thursday, July 26 at 11 a.m. Following the ribbon-cutting, there will be an all-day open house for residents to see the new facility.

 Photo by William 'Bud' Hardy / Neuse News

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